Legal Separation in Tampa
About Tampa Legal Separation
Unlike many states across America, Florida does not have a law which specifically
provides for legal separation. Despite this fact, it is still possible
for you to obtain legal orders to govern the rights and responsibilities
between you and your spouse during a period of separation, whether your
marriage is headed for divorce or if you simply no longer want to live
together yet do not wish to divorce. Pursuing this course of action is
highly advisable, since without such orders you will not be able to compel
your spouse to abide by any type of verbal or written agreement. Further,
obtaining court orders on matters such as child custody and child support,
visitation and alimony makes it possible for you to protect your personal
interests and property rights in the face of opposition from your spouse.
Florida's Legal Separation Statute
The procedure involved in effecting a legal separation in Tampa is provided
for by Florida Statutes §61.10 (2012), "Adjudication of obligation
to support spouse or minor child unconnected with dissolution; parenting
plan." Under the statute, either you or your spouse may petition
the family law court for an adjudication of obligation from the other
party. This may be done in cases where both parties are in agreement concerning
the terms of separation and simply want to formalize the arrangements,
as well as in situations in which one spouse is leaving the other and
wants to go to court to obtain legally enforceable orders to settle disputes.
The judge will hear testimony and review evidence from both sides, and
will determine what financial obligations each party has toward the other
and toward the children in the form of child support and alimony payments.
In addition, the judge may decide which parent the children will live
with as their primary residence, as well as awarding rights of child custody
and visitation. If there has been any history or threat of domestic violence,
the victim can additionally petition for a protective order to obtain
possession of the marital home and to obtain injunctions against further
violence or any type of contact.
Reasons to Legally Separate in Tampa
Legal separation makes it possible for you and your spouse to bring about
most of the conditions of divorce, without the necessity of committing
to the finality of a formal dissolution of marriage. This is an attractive
option for many couples who no longer wish to live together but who prefer
not to divorce, such as due to the observation of deeply held religious
convictions. Another common reason to legally separate is to preserve
the marriage so that one spouse can continue to receive life insurance
or disability benefits. Perhaps you and your spouse are determined to
salvage the marriage and want to give yourselves more space and time to
comfortably work on your relationship. One of the most common reasons
to legally separate is to test out terms of child custody, visitation
and alimony before bringing a petition to
divorce, with the purpose of finding a workable arrangement which will not necessitate
modifications to court orders after the divorce.
Discuss Your Options for Legal Separation
Whether you and your spouse are working together for an amicable resolution
of the issues involved in your separation, or if you have already broken
up and you need hard hitting legal representation to fight for court orders
which will protect your rights, come to the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo.
We provide caring and dedicated service to our clients, because we know
how much is at stake for you. A
Tampa divorce attorney from our team can meet with you to review your options and to discuss
terms of separation which may work for you. Contact us now for a
free consultation and to get started on the process!